“Really? You don’t look/talk like a Muslim o!”
I hope you will take a moment to read and reflect on the issues in this email. Take a second to think about the title of this email, I am sure a lot of you on this list have got this sort of response from people in the past when you declared your faith. I used to dismiss this response as a sign of ignorance until recently, I am now beginning to think that this response is not due to ignorance but perhaps due to the fact that Muslims like you and I who have ‘a little extra” have done practically nothing to ‘lift up’ our fellow brothers and sisters who make up a significant portion of the poor Nigerians, so these responders get used to seeing so many ‘poor and battered Muslims’ that it actually surprises them when they meet one who is well educated, comfortable and has a reasonably okay life.
In the past three days, I have had two separate discussions about the Federation of Muslim Women Association (FOMWAN) School in Alimosho Lagos and the NITEL staff school in Oshodi, Lagos . And my take away has been that we HAVE to do something to make “being a Muslim child in Nigeria equal good education and great opportunities.” A couple of months ago, I sent an email to 150+ Muslims asking for a PC for the FOMWAN School, I got 5 responses back but not one fulfilled promise to date. The school is now risking losing their temporary location and cannot raise the N3.5 million needed to acquire a new piece of land to build its permanent location. The NITEL staff school in Oshodi is up for sale, asking price is N120m and some “concerned non Muslim parents” have begun rallying to raise funds to buy it, where does this leave the Muslims and their kids
How do you convince a muslim kid from a poor home who has no furniture in his/her class, no text books and no computer knowledge in 2007 that s/he should hold her head up high and that s/he can compete on a level playing field with another child whose got all that and much more?
So what happens now that you have heard my whining? You are thinking that all these are beyond your financial power? You close this email and go back to status quo? Forward it to your friends so that you can merely satisfy your conscience that though you can’t give anything, you have told someone? I hope you don’t do any of these, instead I pray you do the following:
1. Think about one little thing you can do now and on a recurring basis. If you have an old PC, give it to the FOMWAN School , you will be giving a Muslim child ‘room to compete in this new IT world.
2. Do you have any spare change that can help FOMWAN secure a permanent location for the school? It does not matter how much it is, whatever you give will reduce the amount we are looking for.
3. Think about these issues as your problem and not the problem of ‘others.’ The prophet Muhammad (SAW) said a Muslim must want for his brothers what he wants for himself. So ask yourself if your child or relation can attend the FOMWAN School as it is now or what would happen if you had a child in the NITEL School that is up for sale.
4. Get your local group involved: Let your masjid, group of Muslim coworkers /friends /family to commit to doing something. If you don’t have N1,000 to give, but you know someone who can, talk to them about this. And commit to encouraging them to do something.
5. Use your voice: Forward this information to your list serve, news magazine, blogs etc. Get the word out!
6. Join United for Kids Foundation (www.unitedforkidsfoundation.org), when you send your donations, instruct us to use it for the FOMWAN school projects. We are currently sourcing for funds to make some chairs/desks for the school, your donation will go a long way in making this and future projects a reality.
Finally, remember that one of the things that will help a Muslim after his death is the knowledge s/he has helped others to acquire, so when you reach out to the FOMWAN School or the kids at the NITEL staff school, you are making an investment for your life after death. For more information email sariyuola@yahoo. co.uk (FOMWAN Lagos Amirah), unitedforkids@ gmail.com, teslim_b@yahoo. com ( NITEL School sales) or temitopef@yahoo. com.
May Allah reward you.
Ganiyah Tope Fajingbesi
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet () said, "Two angels descend every morning, and one says: `O Allah, give him who spends something, in place of what he spends.' The other one says: `O Allah, give destruction to him who withholds".
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